Social Media Matters: Canadian police forces jump into world of Twitter

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Oct. 14, 2011
Metro section

Canadian police forces jump into world of Twitter

A recent PostMedia news item by Douglas Quan looked at how Canadian law enforcement agencies were joining Facebook and Twitter. While some praised the practice, others called the move “superficial” because it was simply a new “PR tool”.

One surprising part of the article, though, was how certain members of the RCMP’s traffic division in Newfoundland and Labrador were using Twitter. While some posted road and weather conditions (perfectly OK in my books), others seemed to be bragging about the number of tickets they were issuing.

According to the article, one RCMP constable tweeted, “TCH is like the autobahn this afternoon! Gvt revenue going up folks!!” The same officer tweeted a few days later, “License suspended, driver is losing his car for 30 days, bye bye car!!!”

While I think tweets about road conditions, weather and other factual updates to inform the public are helpful and welcome, officers should not be seen to be boasting or providing their personal opinions or emotions regarding incidents. This opens up a whole can of worms about legalities and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” etc.

In the case of law enforcement agencies, tweets should be issued from a central source for quality, content and – most importantly – tonal control. If not, strict guidelines and training should definitely be given to staff before they’re allowed to tweet on behalf of the organization for which they work – be it law enforcement or not.

Latest hoax round-up

Here’s a list of some recent hoaxes courtesy of one of my favourite sources, Hoax-Slayer.com. If you haven’t seen these yet, you’ll likely see one of your Facebook friends circulate at least one of them as “fact” soon enough. Do yourself – and them – a favour by letting them know it’s a hoax.

– Comedian Bill Cosby did not write a diatribe against Muslims while blaming everything that’s wrong in the world on lazy and poor people. Entitled “I’m 76 and I’m Tired,” the write-up was actually authored by now-retired Massachusetts state senator Robert A. Hall in 2009.

– If you see a message that claims that saved bottle caps can be exchanged for chemotherapy treatments for children, just ignore it. The hoax began circulating in the U.S. in 2008 and is completely false. The concept is absurd, anyway.

– Jordon Mills likely doesn’t exist and likely doesn’t need your prayers. The messages are written using similar wording to previous prayer-request hoaxes, so this one is thought to be a hoax, too. Besides, the author couldn’t even spell Jordon’s supposed disease correctly. It’s “Crohn’s”, not “Chrons”. Not a malicious hoax, but a time-waster.

– Finally, if you get a warning message from a well-meaning friend about pornographic videos being posted to Facebook profiles “on your behalf,” just ignore it. Not true! The beginning of the message looks like this and is all in caps: “Attention friends! Hackers are doing damage again on Facebook! Pornographic movies are being posted on our behalf on the walls of our profiles!” Don’t panic if you see this. Ignore it.

If you read last week’s Social Media Matters column, you may remember my warning about the hoax photo making the rounds on Facebook that showed nails through pieces of cheese that were supposedly found in an unnamed dog park somewhere in the world. Well, lo and behold, someone posted the photo to Facebook the other day claiming that it was taken at the Riverview Dog Park. Remember – before blindly sharing controversial photos and warnings, just check Google first!

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I feature three YouTube channels that you may want to check out. Since October is the beginning of hockey season, this week’s channels are all hockey-related! Subscriber numbers and video view numbers have been updated as of October are as of Oct. 14.

Wildcats Television (171 subscribers): You probably didn’t know that the Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) have their own YouTube channel. Well, now you do! The channel features a variety of interviews, promotional clips, news items and game highlights. For more information on the Moncton Wildcats, visit their website at www.moncton-wildcats.com. (Most popular video: Import Update Kirill Kabanov and Marek Hrivik – 10,179 views.)

National Hockey League (youtube.com/NHLVideo – 100,382 subscribers): The QMJHL is great, but the players are aiming for one place… the NHL! The NHL’s official YouTube channel features five playlists to choose from: NHL Post Game Highlights, NHL Quick Picks, NHL Plays of the Night, NHL Best of the Week, and NHL presents. For more information on the NHL, visit the league’s website at www.nhl.com. (Most popular video: Top 10 Plays of Stanley Cup Finals – 65,270 views.)

Hockey in HD (9,098 subscribers): The host of this channel is DayWalk3r. Based in Sweden, he posts hockey clips from various leagues, mostly the NHL. The quality seems to be very good and videos are uploaded often! Definitely a must-see for hockey fans! DayWalk3r doesn’t seem to have a website, but he’s on Twitter under username @HockeyWebCast. (Most popular video: Wisniewski Obscene Gesture Towards Sean Avery – 637,182 views.)

One Response to Social Media Matters: Canadian police forces jump into world of Twitter

  1. I agree Brian. It’s pretty sad that RCMP are boasting about their citations. I hope that comes to a halt pretty quickly.

    Good post :)
    Dave